Mumbai: The private sector will play a pivotal role in the development of smart cities though India’s urban growth has not been accompanied by commensurate increases in infrastructure and municipal services, a study said on Sunday (Apr 24).

A joint report prepared by the World Economic Forum and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said the private sector will play a key role in delivering the much-needed infrastructure and help address capacity issues across state governments and urban local bodies.

“The growth of India’s urban population has not been accompanied by commensurate increases in urban infrastructure and service delivery capabilities. As a result, cities in India face a range of challenges in areas such as water, waste management, energy, mobility, built environment, education, healthcare and safety,” it said.

It said the global urban population is set to rise over 66 percent by 2050, and India will be a significant contributor.

According to the report, India’s urban population currently is around 410 million, around 32 percent of the total population, and is expected to reach 814 million, or 50 percent of the world population, by 2050.

“This is why the plan announced by the government of India for 100 smart cities and 500 Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation cities is so important,” the study said.

However, taking the leap to smart cities requires more than just government proclamation, the report said, adding that the challenges may exacerbate if timely action is not taken, and if neglected, could even derail India’s growth.

‘Private sector to play key role in Smart Cities mission’